Places That Closed Down In London 2023

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 7 months ago

Last Updated 01 November 2023

Places That Closed Down In London 2023

For every new, exciting venture that springs up, London loses another favourite establishment. Here's our ever-growing list of places that closed down in 2023. Cue the melancholy piano... although there are a few happy twists in the tale.

London museums that closed in 2023

The exterior of the old museum in black and white
Pollock's Toy Museum has closed its Fitzrovia doors, but will reappear in Croydon later in 2023. Image: duncan cumming via creative commons

A slew of museums have and will open and reopen in 2023 — including the Young V&A and the Hunterian. But there have already been closures, too.

  • Pollock's Toy Museum, Fitzrovia: In January 2023, the enchanting Pollock's Toy Shop announced it was being turfed out of the Fitzrovia townhouse it's called home since 1969. The good news: Pollock's will regenerate as a pop-up in Croydon's Whitgift Centre, as part of the 2023 Borough of Culture celebrations.
  • Vagina Museum, Bethnal Green: Hot on the heels of Pollock's, the much newer — and rather differently-themed — Vagina Museum said it would shut shop at its Bethnal Green venue, which it had already done by early February. However the museum has not thrown in the (sanitary) towel: a crowdfunder is up and running to secure its next London location.
  • Chocolate Museum, Brixton: Yes, London has a museum about chocolate. At least it did. Honouring the history of the humble cocoa bean, the Chocolate Museum moved out of its Brixton home in March 2023. But as with the other two on this list, this is au revoir, not goodbye — the museum continues to run chocolate-making workshops in Brixton, and hopes to open in a suitable space soon enough.
  • The Jewish Museum, Camden: London's only dedicated Jewish Museum was a superb place to learn about the religion, the history of Jewish people in London — plus they had some fab exhibitions on everything from Amy Winehouse to footy. Though it closed in July 2023, it hopes to reopen within five years. Watch this space.

London shops that closed in 2023

Sylvanian Families toys dressed up for Halloween
Sylvanian Storekeepers closes after 30 years in the toy selling biz. Image: Ryuichi IKEDA via creative commons

We're not commemorating every Pound Shop and Waitrose that shutters up — that would be insane — but some London shops will be sorely missed, while others are noteworthy in their own way:

  • Hackney Walk, Hackney: In February, ever-assiduous blogger Diamond Geezer posted on Nike's departure from Hackney Walk — the final nail in the coffin for the trendy shopping mall, which accepted £1.5 million from City Hall in the wake of the London riots, and was once supposed to rival the likes of Bicester Village.
  • Sylvanian Storekeepers, Highbury: Surely one of London's nichest retail experiences — a Highbury shop selling little else but Sylvanian Families products — announced that, after 30 years of trading, it would close on 22 April 2023. London may never see such cute window displays ever again.
  • Wilko: Although Wilko was actually established in Leicester, plenty of branches of the bargain store were scattered on the high streets of London. We called in at Sutton's Wilko a couple of days before closing.

London pubs, bars and breweries that closed in 2023

Time Martin standing outside Wetherspoon House
2023 has already seen branches of Wetherspoon closing, with many more to come.

Covid, rising rents, cost of living: it's been a tough few years for the hospitality industry, and London's beer and bar scene has taken a serious hit.

  • One Mile End, Tottenham: Once at the forefront of London's craft beer scene, it was sad to hear in January that One Mile End —which once had a superb brew pub at Whitechapel that did an incredible bourbon stout — has hung up its boots.
  • The Ship, Southwark: We spent some happy evenings in Southwark's Ship pub too, which used to put on a fantastic little comedy open mic upstairs, and it was sad to hear that the 200-year-old boozer had closed its doors in January 2023. Update: word on the grapevine is the Ship's opening under new ownership very soon!
  • The Clapham North, Clapham: With 20 years on the clock, this neighbourhood boozer poured its last pint at the end of March.
  • Partizan Brewing: For the first time in many years, the Bermondsey beer mile is starting to shrink. Partizan Brewing, who've been working their hoppy magic beneath the arches for a decade, announced in April that inflation and increasing prices had prompted them to move their setup to Market Harborugh in Leicestershire. See you next time we're en route to Leicester!
  • Brew By Numbers: This excellent brewery, producing a spectrum of beers all named with various number combinations, has sadly wrapped up its Bermondsey operation owing to financial difficulty. (The Peckham tap is also now shut.) The good news is it's going to continue brewing at a new site in Greenwich.
  • Wetherspoons, all over the place: It is not looking like a good year for "The Man Who Launched 150 London Pubs" — in January 2023, a list of due-to-close Wetherspoon pubs was released, with 12 London boozers named: Asparagus (Battersea), Miller's Well (East Ham), Bankers Draft (Eltham), Hudson Bay (Forest Gate), Capitol (Forest Hill — also on our list of the city's best Wetherpoons), Plough and Harrow (Hammersmith), Moon on the Hill (Harrow), Toll Gate (Hornsey), Penderel's Oak (Holborn), Coronet (Holloway), Angel (Islington) and Alfred Herring (Palmers Green). Croydon has also lost its Skylark Wetherspoon in March 2023. Presumably these will all be reinstated once the benefits of Brexit start flooding in.

London restaurants and cafes that closed in 2023

  • Jerusalem Bar & Kitchen: Among the very first venues of the year to go (along with Trader Vic's, which we put in last year's roundup), this Fitzrovia party joint had been going for quarter of a decade. It shut up shop on 1 January 2023.
  • Oriole, Smithfield: This wonderful subterranean cocktail bar in Smithfield Market itself also had its final blowout on 31 December 2022, before flying off into the sunset.
  • Joanna's, Crystal Palace: After 45 years feeding hungry south Londoners, Joanna's in Crystal Palace dished up its last Sunday roast in January 2023, citing "current economic conditions."
  • P Franco, Bright and Noble Fine Liquor, east London: In mid March, east London lost three great establishments in one fell swoop: belonging to the same family, restaurants P Franco and Bright — as well as shop Noble Fine Liquor — said farewell to fans, saying that complex reasons had led to their time in the sun coming to an abrupt and sudden end.
  • Caravaggio, Camberwell: For 20 years, this homey trattoria had been dishing up its delish pizzas and pastas to the good folk of Camberwell. Its demise was sudden and shocking, for both staff and customers. Once places like this are gone, they're gone.
  • Look mum no hands!, Old Street: Earning a place on our list of London's best sports bars, Look mum no hands! was a firm favourite among London's two-wheeling community. In a tear-inducing valedictory Instagram post (above), the management thanked anyone who'd ever bought a beer, come in to get a puncture fixed, or even just scabbed the wi-fi.
  • Banners, Crouch End: The beloved local restaurant, which famously had a plaque reading 'Bob Dylan sat at this table August 1993' closed after over 30 years of bringing joy to Crouchenders and various other visitors (including Boy Dylan, did we mention that?).

London venues that closed in 2023

  • Printworks, Rotherhithe: This stunning 'superclub', based in a cavernous old industrial building, caused quite the stir during its short life — what with its three-storey video screen, and performances from the likes of Bicep and Róisín Murphy. Development of the land led to its closure, although the hope is it'll reopen in 2026. In the meantime, the people behind it have opened Drumsheds, in the old Edmonton IKEA.

Go a worthy entry you think should be on this list? Tell us in the comments or email [email protected]